‘Ludwig Leo: a most unusual architect’ is how Peter Cook, inspired by seeing the recently completed pink and blue Umlauftank (circulation tank) and the triangular DLRG headquarters in Berlin, entitled his 1975 article about Ludwig Leo. “The buildings are so original and so expertly achieved,” he said, “that in the long run, they MUST be exposed, they MUST be talked about, for there is so much crap around.”
This never happened. Leo never built another building and he did not wish to talk about his past achievements. Forty years after Cook’s text, this exhibition is the first dedicated to this legendary West Berlin architect of the 1960s, who died in 2012. Presented, through Leo’s remarkable drawings, are five projects: the Umlauftank, the DLRG headquarters, a brutalist sports hall and two unbuilt experimental schools. The film ‘DLRG’ animates Leo’s drawings and shows how this unique lifeguard and boathouse building was originally used.
“Five projects from 1960s West Berlin” Ludwig Leo´s drawings
2/5/2015 – 6/6/2015
Front Members’ Room, Architectural Assotiation, London.
Exhibitions are open Monday to Friday 10:00–19:00, Saturday 10:00–15:00.
Ludwig Leo (1924-2012) was perhaps the most unusual architect working in West Berlin in the post-war period. His best known work is the circulation tank (1967-1974) near to the Tiergarten S-Bahn station – a high-tech facility for testing models of ships, consisting of a 120 meter long pink circulation pipe, set on its side, topped by a blue laboratory hall.
The exhibition Ludwig Leo – Ausschnitt turns attention to four other projects of Leo, in order to display previously overlooked aspects of his work. Decisive themes in Leo’s designs were the idea of dense spatial sequences, movable elements, and spaces to encourage social contact. The future users of the buildings, as physical and social beings, were always at the centre of his designs. He pursued these ideas with extraordinary rigour, and explained them though impressive drawings, which are largely unknown.
Besides the actual buildings, Leo’s way of working can still be an inspiration today. His experimental approach to the project requirements, the unconditional questioning of planning conventions, the inventive detailing, the focus on people, and the thinking of architecture in complex relationships embody an attitude which can remind us of the true potential of architecture.
The exhibition is curated by Antje Buchholz, Jack Burnett-Stuart, Gregor Harbusch, Michael von Matuschka and Jürgen Patzak-Poor. This exhibition was first shown in 2013 in Berlin and is co-produced by the Wüstenrot Stiftung, the German foundation which is currently renovating the Umlauftank.